Representation changes coming with redistrictingOctober 15, 2021
By CANDY NEAL
Dubois County will continue to have two representatives in the Indiana House of Representatives, but will have only one representative in the Indiana Senate.
Now that county officials have also completed their redistricting work, incorporated communities where council seats represent districts can look and possibly adjust their district lines.
“(State legislators) did change our maps, but they didn’t split any of our precincts,” Dubois County Clerk Amy Kippenbrock said. “So we didn’t have to clean up precincts based on what they did at the state level.”
The redistricting process has put the entire county into Indiana Senate District 48, which is represented by Mark Messmer. It had been that the western part of the county sat in District 48 and the eastern half in District 47, which Erin Houchin represents. So District 48 encompasses all of Dubois, Spencer, Pike, Perry, Crawford and Gibson counties. District 47 includes all of Washington and Harrison counties and most of Floyd County.
As for Indiana House districts, Dubois County will still be part of districts 63 and 74, but how it is split has changed.
Before redistricting, District 63, Shane Lindauer’s district, included the top half of the county: Boone, Harrison, Columbia, Madison, Bainbridge, Marion and Hall townships, which is the northern half of the county. District 74, which is represented by Steve Bartels, included the county’s southern half: Patoka, Jackson, Jefferson, Cass and Ferdinand townships.
With the redistricting changes, District 63 loses Columbia and Hall townships to District 74, but gains the western halves of Patoka Township and Cass Township, including Holland. Huntingburg, which is in Patoka Township, will stay under District 74.
Dubois County will remain in U.S. Congressional District 8, represented by Larry Bucshon.
County officials then worked on reprecincting and redistricting for the county. That work was done earlier this week.
“If they, within their maps, split one our precincts, we have to react to that,” Kippenbrock said, “because we can’t have a split precinct for their districts. But we’re fine. They did not split any of our precincts based on their new district maps.”
Officials did have to move into Jasper precincts two areas that were annexed into the city since the 2010 Census. Some blocks north of State Road 162, called Rolling Hills subdivision, were annexed into the city in 2018, including homes in the area of A Street and Hill Street. To allow those people to vote in city elections, a new precinct called Bainbridge 1.1 was created. Now, they have been placed in Bainbridge 4S, which is the closest precinct.
The other was Brookstone 7, which is mostly a farming field near Ireland near Brescher Estates and Bluegrass Drive. There could be homes built in the future, but the area was annexed into the city this year. It was moved from the Madison 2 precinct to Madison-Jasper North, which is in city limits.
County officials also checked redistricting for the county, since four of the county council seats represent specific areas of the county. Redistricting is driven by the new Census blocks data and the new Census data shows what the population is in those many blocks.
“You have to be similar population in your districts for the county council seats,” Kippenbrock explained. “There’s a formula that you go through to determine if you’re in the right variation. If you deviate population more than 10% within those districts, then you have to make some changes.”
The county districts were well under the 10%, so no changes were made.
Now, cities and towns must look at their district maps and make changes, if needed, by the end of 2022. Officials must figure out the average population of the districts as well as the difference between the most populated and least populated districts. The average population is divided into the difference to come up with what is called the percentage of deviation. The target deviation is 10% or less. If the percentage of deviation is more than that, some shifting needs to be done in the districts.
“If they are over the 10%, they have to figure out what their new lines are,” Kippenbrock said. “And it’s all based on that Census block data.”
In Huntingburg, the total population in its four districts is 6,362, making the average district population 1,590.5. The difference between the most populated district, 1,769 in Patoka 2, and the least populated district, 1,501 in Patoka 1, is 268. Dividing 268 by 1,501, is .1685; so the percentage of deviation is 16.85%. Since that is more than 10%, some changes will need to be made.
Jasper’s six districts’ population totals 16,643, making the average population 3,328.6. The difference between its most populated district, 3,548 in Bainbridge 3, and its least populated district, 2,800 in Bainbridge 4, is 748. The percentage of deviation is figured to be .2247, or 22.47%.
Ferdinand is not in the same category. It’s two districts’ population totals 2,157. The population difference between Ferdinand 1’s 1,041 and Ferdinand 2’s 1,116 is 75. So the percentage of deviation is .0695, or 6.95%.
Any changes done at the municipality level must be completed by the end of 2022.
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